by his wife, Carolyn
Kevin was the
youngest of the five children of John and Maryjean McGrath. His father, John,
was an Editor of "The Progressive" magazine, and Maryjean, Kevin's mother,
worked for the International Credit Union agencies and taught at The University
of Wisconsin, in Madison, WI. Kevin's brother, Sean, is retired from his
computer analyst position with Cal Berkeley. Deirdre, his oldest sister, also is
'in computers', but working now for a company that helps women in need, in
Sonoma County, CA. Maura, the middle kid, all around, is a most competent
Admin., back in Madison. Sheila, also in Madison, is re-directing herself into
Kevin began his career with a job drying off cars in a car wash. He promoted himself to delivering pizzas (His stories about the car are most wonderful!), then moved on to a bank! When he arrived in California, his first job was as a builder of hot tubs, then - after a year - he found a job working in a data processing center. He had worked at that job four years, when a chance encounter led to an interview with folks at Kaiser Permanente (the HMO) and a job there. Kevin worked at Kaiser for 10 years, and then went to work at Boole & Babbage, Inc., which subsequently was subsumed by BMC Software, Inc. In the Grand Layoff Spring of 2001, when some 75,000 people were laid off in the Silicon Valley alone, Kevin learned (the hard way) why it is not good to be "the most senior member of the team"!
Kevin had no children. With Karen, his first wife, he shared parenting for alternating 2-week segments; Michael and Allicyn stayed with their father (Dan) for the other 2-week segments. Until we left California, Kevin and I continued to see and share 'quality time' with, Mike and Allie. They are now young adults living (pretty much) their own lives, according to Karen. Kevin also shares a very close bond with my son, Andy, who lives and works in Costa Mesa, California.
In March 1995, only a few weeks after the beginning of our life together, Kevin (and I) learned that he had Idiopathic Dilative Cardiomyopathy. His heart was as big as a professional football! Emotional adaptation to his prognosis took precedence over adapting to each other and we - then and at irregular intervals since then - discussed all of the "What if . " questions and how we would deal with each imaginable situation. As customers of Kaiser Permanente's Heart Transplant Clinic for Northern California, at Santa Teresa, we were well-beyond 'most fortunate'! We met and talked to patients (and their significant caretakers) at every stage of the transplant process. This was extremely helpful to each of us, both in our own role and as we helped the other in their role.
As Kevin wished, his corneas and long-structural bone tissue were donated to individual recipients. I must confess that, in my scribbled notes from several conversations with the gentleman from the Alabama Organ Center, I cannot decipher whether other whole organs have been donated to individuals or not. In any case, as Kevin wished, any usable tissue that was not donated intact to a living recipient has gone to a local research agency. Kevin was quite clear about this: He seriously regretted that he had not gotten a complete education and gone into the research part of "Science", himself. We agreed that "the greatest use to the greatest number" is always the wisest, most conscientious answer to any issue. He was adamant that he wanted to become a part of the research community at this time. The Organ Center will cremate the remains and return them to me. I will return them to Madison, and scatter them in a place I know he will find the freedom he sought all his life.
Kevin will live on within all of us as love and laughter, as listening, as music, as silent time for reflection and wonder. He lived in many places and shared himself in many lives. Just so, there cannot be a single ceremonial to commemorate his passing away from us. Rather, we will mark that passage with several memorial gatherings, where as Kevin hoped, we will speak of Kevin, share our memories of him, and - most of all - laugh out loud. Kevin, even now as always, will enjoy our joy!
Dale (our cat) and I have already had the first of our several private mournings. . On Friday 05 December, I will go to Kevin's work and meet the people with whom he worked, sharing with them the Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pies he just missed. . My brother, Tom, and I will drive up to Madison, where Kevin's Mother, Maryjean, lives, as do his Sisters, Sheila and Maura, and a number of Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and Friends. The Memorial Service in Madison will be on Saturday, 03 January (pending the convenience of the St. Paul's Catholic Church calendar). . On "my" side, Kevin seemed always to be going to a wedding or a graduation. He never had a chance to stay and get to know my family very well, nor did they know him very well. He did not think of himself as really "connected"; rather, he thought of himself and my Sisters-In-Law (I have four brothers, no sisters) as "The Siera OutLaws". We will arrange a huge Conference Call, with as many of us as can be 'present' at once, probably some day late in January. Finally, we will all be able to say aloud in public how embarrassed we were, the day Kevin really did eat his peas off his knife! . Sometime after that, probably 20 March, I will go to California, where Kevin's sister, Deirdre, and brother, Sean, are, as well as another large coterie of the Extended McGrath Family and - of course - all of the people he worked with during 20 years, for a second Memorial Gathering. We will meet in the little grove of redwoods overlooking the Silicon Valley where Kevin and I got married. .